A State Highway Safety Report from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states an upward trend in Mississippi car accidents, with 772 fatalities and 3,562 serious injuries from car accidents in 2021. This matches the overall increase for the United States as there were 46,980 total motor vehicle fatalities in 2021, an 11% rise from 2020, as shown by data from the National Safety Council (NSC).
Car accidents happen every day all around us, and sometimes we’re involved despite our best efforts to stay safe on the road. These accidents can range from minor fender benders to very serious or fatal major crashes. According to the data mentioned above, roughly 64 people died each month in Mississippi from car accidents in 2021. That’s about two to three car accident fatalities every day.
Top Causes of Car Accidents
Most car accidents are caused by driver error because we are all human, after all, and are prone to making mistakes. However, outside of things like adverse weather conditions, several contributing factors to car accidents are well within our control. We’ve outlined a few of the main causes of car accidents:
- Speeding: Not obeying speed limit signs is a sure way to end up in a car accident, and it’s one of the leading causes of crashes. Especially in adverse weather or high-traffic areas, driving too fast means you can’t slow down soon enough to avoid a collision.
- Distractions: It takes only two seconds of looking away from the road to have an accident, and drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into a serious crash. Any distractions like phones, radios, and eating or drinking while driving will affect your ability to react.
- Driving under the influence (drugs, alcohol, prescription medications): Although you may not take or drink anything that would hinder your ability to drive, other drivers around you may be under the influence. This slows reaction time and can cause catastrophic consequences.
- Reckless or aggressive driving: Road rage is a big problem and can cause major accidents when reckless drivers let it get out of hand. Oftentimes, it’s people who are in a hurry and feel the need to drive aggressively to get through traffic to their destination.
- Failing to check blind spots or use turn signals: When you drive, it’s imperative that you always pay attention to other vehicles around you. Always check and double-check your blind spots before switching lanes or making a turn, and remember to always use your turn signal so that the drivers around you are aware of the decisions you’re planning to make.
- Disobeying traffic laws: By not driving the speed limit, not stopping at stop signs, or not following other road signage, you run the risk of not only putting yourself but other drivers in danger. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to the signs and traffic around you and to obey the law.
- Road hazards: Sometimes, your best efforts at driving safely are not enough when there are hazards in the roadway. Anything from a box that dropped from someone’s truck to construction equipment to potholes. All of these and more are hazards that you sometimes can’t avoid when you’re driving, especially at high rates of speed or in bad weather.
How To Be a Safe Driver in Mississippi
According to data from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the three best ways to stay safe on the road are:
- Wearing your seat belt (even when you’re not the driver)
- Not driving impaired
- Not driving distracted
Teen drivers and passengers are the least likely to wear their seat belts, and with only 77.9% of people in our state wearing their seat belts, Mississippi has one of the lowest seat belt use rates in the nation. Impaired driving is another leading cause of accidents, resulting in more than 10,000 people each year dying on the road from drunk driving alone.
Distracted driving accidents can happen for many reasons, but cell phone usage is often the leading cause. Approximately 21% of teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted by cell phones, and drivers talking or texting won’t see 50% of their driving environment.
Additionally, one out of three deaths of U.S. teens are due to a motor vehicle crash, and car accidents are the leading cause of death in children ages 1-12. It is so important to follow driving safety tips and discuss safe and defensive driving with your loved ones, especially any teenage drivers in your family or household. By taking these precautions, we can hope to lessen these awful statistics and have safer roads for everyone.
Injured in a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, we know how overwhelming it can be in the aftermath. To our team of expert Jacksonville car accident attorneys here at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, you’re not just a statistic. We’re here to help you navigate through the confusion of litigation and get you the compensation you deserve after your accident. Reach out to our office today for your free consultation.